The D1 Conference Semifinals last night provided some absolutely shocking results, and I loved every minute of it. Sure, SOME of the big guys won, but there were more than a few surprising results, and this could have some HUGE implications when it comes to the NCAA tournament.
D1 Conference Semifinals – Upsets & Video!
Vermont 10 – Stony Brook 9
Woah, SBU, a Top 20 team, drops a tough one to Vermont by a goal. That goal? UNBELIEVABLE. It’s all over the internet, and well worth a couple views:
— America East (@AmericaEast) May 6, 2016
Yeah, that was some crazy stuff from Cam Milligan!
But ALSO, that’s just Vermont lacrosse nowadays. They play pretty smart, they control the ball well, and they take risks. It’s a great mix of caution and chaos and both box-style and field-heavy players see success. The ball spins a lot, power cradles are en vogue, and seam passes are pushed when they are there. Vermont is now 9-7, and after losing to Stony Brook 13-10 in the regular season, this semifinal win was sweet, sweet vengeance. Ian MacKay, Cam Milligan and Jack Knight each had two goals for Vermont – they’re balanced! Stony Brook was up 9-8, but Vermont kept coming in the 4th, and then survived an attempted comeback from SBU, where they rang at least one shot off the post.
Now they play America East favorite Alban… oh, wait. No, they don’t.
Hartford 11 – Albany 10 OT
In the OTHER America East semifinal Hartford took an OT win over presumptive favorite Albany, and the lacrosse world was shaking. What killed Albany? FACE OFFS. Hartford won 20 of 24 in the game, via Dylan Protesto (14 GBs as well), and there is no way they come back from being down 2 with 4 minutes left without that kind of domination. Face offs were a concern for Albany all year, and while many were worried it could bite them in the AE Finals, few expected it to bite them here. Anyone who says they had Hartford (other than Hartford) is most likely a liar. Props to the Hawks for pulling off a HUGE upset!
Sure, Hartford is 10-6, and they only lost to Albany 13-9 in the regular season, but after losing to Vermont 13-4 and SBU 16-8 to end the regular season, no one was thinking they would take down #1. You lose to #3 by nine goals, then lose to #2 by 8 goals… who’s picking you to beat #1? NO ONE, but Hartford did so anyway. Albany had won 28 straight AE games and 3 conference titles. Yes, this was a big one.
Justin Huggins scored the game winner in OT for the Hawks, and he finished with 5 goals and 2 assists on the night. Did I mention he also had the game tying goal with less than :30 seconds left? He did. Monster night.
I like Albany to get an at-large, but they likely won’t be seeded, and have to play on the road. Vermont OR Hartford is dancing this year. FACT.
Marquette 14 – Villanova 9
Ok, according to the POLLS, this Big East Semifinal result is an upset. Is it really an upset? I honestly have no idea. Marquette is good, and Villanova looked disjointed. Even if Villanova looks better, does Marquette lose? I DON’T KNOW. I’ll count it as an upset, but really it was just a really good game of lacrosse! Villanova gets an at-large bid… or do they? Seems more doubtful by the day.
Hobart 7 – Bryant 6
Bryant had some big wins in the regular season, were ranked 20th, and seen as a solid favorite over Hobart. Hobart sat at 8-6 before the game, and had some great contests on their resume BUT… they had lost to Bryant on April 23rd by a score of 15-2. Yes, 15-2. NOT. EVEN. CLOSE. Last night, it was SUPER close, and Hobart played 2016 Hobart ball, and won a close contest against a solid program.
This game was a slugfest from the start. Low-scoring, physical, and each play was meaningful in a game where good opportunities were hard to come by for both teams. Tucker James had 3 goals for Bryant, and Frank Brown had three for Hobart, while Chris Aslanian had a goal and 2 assists for the Statesmen.
Will Bryant get an at-large bid now? With Albany, Stony Brook, Villanova and others in the same boat, it’s starting to get pretty crowded. Hobart or St. Joseph’s will go to the NCAAs now!
Rutgers 14 – Johns Hopkins 12
Rutgers was the #2 seed, playing #3 seed Hopkins, AT Hopkins. Hopkins was ranked higher in the polls by about 5 spots and yet Rutgers had beaten Hopkins 16-9 in the regular season. Tell me if ANY of the above makes any sense to you. I can not make heads or tails of it… oh wait, I can:
We were ALL wrong about Rutgers. This is NOT an upset amazingly. We were just wrong, wrong, wrong. It happens, and I can admit it! So why is the game here? Because it was a great game, and I felt like including it. Sorry I’m not sorry for being honest.
Rutgers now plays Maryland in the finals, and Hopkins has four big wins, five big losses, and one bad loss. Is that enough to get them in to the NCAAs? Not if upsets keep happening.